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research projects or facts and figures relevant to policy debates. Also included are blog articles, regular articleson working life in Europe, presentations, working papers providing background material to ongoing or already concluded research, and reports arising from ad hoc requests by policymakers. Other corporate publications include annual reports, brochures and promotional publications. Web databases and online resources such as data visualisation applications are available in Data and resources.
New analysis of a regular working conditions survey (Arbeitsklima-Index )
shows that 22% of full-time employees in Austria work more than 45 hours per
week. Another 21% work more than 40 hours per week. As in other countries,
long working hours in Austria are heavily gender biased: while 49% of male
full-time employees work longer than 40 hours per week, the same is true for
33% of female full-time workers.
The comparative supplement in this issue of EIRObserver looks at the current position on family-related leave in 19 EU Member States and Norway, focusing on regulation by collective bargaining. The supplement also examines the views of trade unions and employers on this issue and assesses the impact of family-related leave and its effects on gender equality.
To coincide with the publication of the literature review 'Working poor in the European Union' (EF0467), the Foundation organised a seminar to discuss in more detail some of the issues raised in the report. Over 60 experts from EU Member States as well as Canada and Bulgaria participated, bringing together representatives of different groups - social partner organisations, research organisations, governments and the European institutions. The specific aims of the seminar were to tackle issues regarding the definition of the working poor, to identify particular groups at risk, and to assess the extent of the phenomenon in the European Union. An information sheet on this topic is also available (EF04107).
Late 2004 has seen an upsurge in demands for pay increases by Polish
employees in sectors such as the metal-processing, coal-mining, petroleum,
automotive, and food industries. Trade unions generally advance the same
argument in support of their demands, namely that workers too should benefit
from a recent improvement in the economic climate. Employers are very
circumspect in addressing these demands, warning that over-hasty spending of
the fruits of economic growth may lead to a reduction of investments and thus
endanger the very growth that is now fuelling employee demands.
On 5 November 2004 ,a four-hour strike was held at all Italian Fiat car
plants. This was the first time in more than two years that the Fiat
workforce had staged industrial action nationwide. The strike also affected
Powertrain (the joint venture between Fiat Auto and General Motors) and
subcontractor companies, and was called jointly by main metalworkers' trade
unions, following a meeting with the chief executive of Fiat Auto, at which a
plan for reorganising the company was presented.
The Italian-based Parmalat, one of the largest agro-food groups in the world,
was hit by a financial crisis at the end of 2003 which led to judicial
inquiries involving the owners and management. In order to ensure the
continuity of Parmalat’s activities, a decree-law issued by the government
in December 2003 placed the group under extraordinary administration
proceedings. The group’s industrial and financial restructuring plan -
announced in July 2004 by a special commissioner appointed by the government
to oversee the transition - was followed by an agreement on industrial
relations signed by the main sectoral trade unions in November 2004. This
agreement lays down the procedures for protection of employees during
Parmalat’s restructuring and reorganisation.
In November 2004, a collective agreement was signed to regulate the
employment conditions of workers at the businesses trading at Outlet Village,
a new shopping centre situated in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany. The deal,
signed by the region's main commerce and services trade unions, the
management of the shopping centre, and the local Association of Trade, is the
first of its kind in Italy. Its conclusion was assisted by an agreement
signed in 2002 between the social partners and the Tuscany regional
administration that promotes dialogue and consultation among the social
partners over the opening of large shopping centres.
In October 2004, after a major public consultation exercise, a report on
reform of France's state schools system was presented to the Minister of
National Education. Trade unions gave a mixed response to the proposals,
which include a redefinition of the teaching profession and of teachers’
workload. Negotiations over legislative changes now appear likely.
A report commissioned by the Minister for the Economy and published in
October 2004 identifies obstacles to economic growth in France and makes
recommendations on how they can be overcome. The proposals include longer
life-time working hours and changes to the law on employee representation,
employment contracts, the minimum wage and redundancies.
During the second half of 2004, there has been a number of relocations of
companies' operations from Spain to other countries, as part of a wider wave
of company restructuring. This article examines the main cases, the reasons
and the industrial relations aspects.